Whither John Edwards

With news this morning that NM Gov. Bill Richardson endorsed Obama this morning, and the Obama campaign is planning on rolling out more endorsements between now and April 22nd's Pennsylvania primary "to create a sense of momentum," one wonders what happened to erstwhile candidate and number one endorsement get ex-Sen. John Edwards.

Join me in answering the question in extended...

After Edwards' Iowa slingshot strategy didn't pan out, he completely dropped off the radar after a dissipointing finish in South Carolina, the state of his birth. For a couple weeks, Clinton and Obama tried their best to channel Edwards, and to woo him to their side. After Super Tuesday, however, they largely forgot about that and seemed to tack to the center.

Since neither are able to put the other away, Edwards could still be a kingmaker...or at least an elder statesman. Why wasn't Edwards stepping in when things got nasty between the two in February and March, telling them to be grown-ups, like he did in the debates? Why didn't Edwards take a stand on Florida or Michigan, to force a redo? Or Edwards could have offered to mediate the stalemate between Obama and Clinton in May/June, to avoid a convention floor fight or credentials committee battle.

During the campaign, Edwards showed his neutrality between the two by attacking both, although he did attack Clinton more. However, that was necessary since he was selling himself (this time) as the change-ist candidate and amazingly the first serious woman candidate was the establishment candidate. So why hasn't Edwards done any of those things and why doesn't it seem like he will do any of those things?

To me, the only logical answer is that he doesn't want to piss off the nominee if they win, or the loser if the nominee ends up losing to John McCain. Still, I think Edwards could get whatever cabinet post he wanted (i.e. Sec. of Labor, HHS, AG) in exchange for endorsing whomever it was. And if he went the mediator route, he would be sure not to either Clinton or Obama mad at him. The non-logical answer is that he is pissed off a both for ignoring him post-Super-Tuesday, and he doesn't think either of them would be nearly as good as he would be as president.

But let's face facts, John Edwards is never going to be the Democratic nominee for president. You don't get to run three times, unless you want to be an also-ran. Even Joe Biden learned not to run between 1988 and 2008. So Edwards' options are to be a cabinet level dude in a Democratic administration, run for Governor or Senator of North Carolina next cycle (the filing deadline was March 3rd), or leave politics and become the Al Gore of Poverty (which is something he genuinely seems to care a lot about). So far however, he hasn't made moves to do any of those three.

It must be tough to get very close to being a presidential nominee, especially when it seems like a good year to be a member of your party. It takes a lot of hard work and planning to get even that close, and I understand his disappointment and frustration. He could have made the most of a bad situation, however, he doesn't seem ready to do the necessary things.

And it is too bad. Democrats need a talented politician who has a nose for what the public mood is in their upper echelon.

Tags: Barack Obama, Florida, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Michigan, revote (all tags)



Re: Whither John Edwards

Wasn't Obama going to oll out 50 supers after TX and OH?

by mjc888 2008-03-21 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

I agree that Edwards needs to do something. I feel bad for him. If all this stuff about Obama (Rezko, Wright, etc) would have come out sooner, he would have been able to stay in the race and may very well given Clinton a good run and won the nomination.

by grlpatriot 2008-03-21 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

You said: "Still, I think Edwards could get whatever cabinet post he wanted (i.e. Sec. of Labor, HHS, AG)."

I don't think Edwards seeks a cabinet post.

Gore has not endorsed either.  Maybe they are smart.

by TomP 2008-03-21 08:53AM | 0 recs
rolling out more endorsements

The Obama camp was feeding this meme to the media. I recall talking heads parroting it a few days before Texas and Ohio. After Hillary won, that big roll out stopped in it's tracks.

by grlpatriot 2008-03-21 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

Obama also hoped American people will ignore his hypocrisy on race/connections with Wright and get duped easily when he tells them lies while looking straight into their face.

PS: In some of the Wright interviews, he wasnt even looking at the interviewer while lying he was never present there.

A human can't avoid guilty feelings. Alas, I was told he isnt a human, he was Messiah.

by Sandeep 2008-03-21 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

Interesting question in the back of a lot of people's minds.  A lot of people who have hesitated to endorse (and not just politicians) have secretly preferred Clinton but didn't want to be excoriated by the vicious Obama supporters.  That said, I think Ewards is going to endorse Obama.  I'm only surprised he hasn't done it sooner.  There's not a lot of payback to attacking Clinton, let alone not supporting her.  She's been very forgiving--probably too forgiving, considering her relationship with Murdoch--all along.  The smart political move would be to endorse Obama and make up to Hillary later if he has to.  Obama carries a grudge, and I don't think his supporters would ever forgive Edwards for a Clinton endorsement.  They're really much more passionate about their candidate than Clinton supporters.

by hearthmoon 2008-03-21 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

" They're really much more passionate about their candidate than Clinton supporters."

Don't underestimate the passion of the Clinton supporters, if Obama is the nominee he will get a rude surprise when the votes he thinks will automatically be there are not.

by 07rescue 2008-03-21 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: "Obama carries a grudge"

I disagree with you about the passion felt by HRC's supporters, but you're probably right about Mr. Uniter BHO carrying a grudge.

Who said "I'm a uniter; not a divider"?

(a) Barack Obama
(b) George W. Bush
(c) both of the above

by moevaughn 2008-03-21 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: "Obama carries a grudge"

who has really big ears?

a) bush
b) obama
c) all of the above

who has two eyes, and a nose?

a) bush
b) hitler
c) obama
d) all of the above

by Doug Tuttle 2008-03-21 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: ears etc.

 the candidate hasn't made big ears or having two eyes part of his rationale for being president.

by moevaughn 2008-03-21 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

You are dead wrong about the passionate of Clinton supporters.
We stick with her through thick and thin.  We refused to let her go and it showed in the donation that keep pouring in after the media twisted her closing statement in TX debate as a conceding statement.  

No way that we will concede.  We are going to take this race all the way to the finish line.  

by JoeySky18 2008-03-22 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

This campaign season has yet to include an endorsement that meant a damn thing, unless I'm overlooking somebody. Certainly the highest profile endorsements (Kennedy, Kerry) have been meaningless.

If I'm Edwards, I just stay out of it. Obviously he doesn't have a real strong preference, or he'd have already come out. This way he still has cache with the candidate whoever it is.

by Jason O 2008-03-21 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

Why would supers be eager to jump on the Obama bandwagon now, at the peak of the Wright controversy?

Don't forget that they have their own careers to tend after.

by mjc888 2008-03-21 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

JRE will endorse Obama before NC.

by Spanky 2008-03-21 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

We'll see!

by mjc888 2008-03-21 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

I think the repugs better quit with the Wright stuff because I have a feeling that there is a picture of Bush with Rev Wright.

by Spanky 2008-03-21 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

millions of photos get taken of individuals with a president (a la Wright w/ Clinton or maybe Wright w/ Bush).  so what?  that doesn't mean the president attended the person's church for twenty years, listening to the "controversial" remarks of his sermons.

by moevaughn 2008-03-21 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

Sure it does! Heck, makes just as much sense by judging someone and their character from twenty seconds of footage of someone they know fed in dumbed-down media edited soundbyte platitudes.

Right? Kinda like that photo op Hillary and Bill did with Mr. Rezko.

by ragekage 2008-03-21 09:49AM | 0 recs

the D endorsed kucinich.

by omar little 2008-03-21 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: kg

I read that comment three times, going "Huh?" before I got it.

/then I lol-ed

by ragekage 2008-03-21 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

But I bet you nobody sit in the pew and listen to Wright's hate message for 20 years like Obama did.

by JoeySky18 2008-03-22 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

My take on it is that John and Elizabeth let themselves get to a place where they genuinely disliked Clinton personally. They seem to be having trouble stepping back from that - and the truth of the matter is that they have their plate full in terms of what they need to process. OTOH, Clinton was very kind of them when their son died (John was not yet senator - their son had won a competition and had met Hillary as the winner a few weeks before his death - Hillary came to his funeral) and her campaign has done a better job of wooing him. However, he reportedly is having trouble backing away from some of the harsher positions he took against her.

Clinton's actual platform and the spirit of her platform is much more in keeping with what Edwards' was about than what Obama's was about. I expect to see an endorsement sooner or later, but maybe not unless it becomes essential.

by Little Otter 2008-03-21 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

I agree that Edwards is unlikely to endorse at this point, and if so, he would endorse Obama.  But to me, that doesn't explain what he plans on doing long term.

Does he want to be part of an Obama or Clinton Administration?  Some don't think so.

Does he want to be the Al Gore of poverty?  That UNC center of his seems to be discontinued.

If someone could answer my main question, what he should or plans to do with himself, I would love to know.

by DaveB 2008-03-21 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

Edwards and Gore probably have more power in their endorsements by waiting. They could be defacto king makers if the race continues to tighten. I don't believe either endorses before PA. If PA is close they might go endorse Obama, but it's a Hillary blowout they may wait longer, or endorse Hillary. But I think both endorsements will come late, maybe not until late may or early june, and they could have a lot of sway on supers.

by Christopher Lib 2008-03-21 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

Don't you think that the fact that Dodd and Richardson have both come out for Obama might be an indicator as to what the party elite/elders are doing here?

With each endorsement of Obama, the HEFT of the endorser (stay away from Richardson's girth here) has increased.  Do you think that there is a CHANCE that they are trying to get the Clinton camp to understand that the endgame is approaching?  Biden will be next I suppose, then Gore.  Edwards might just stay out completely... I dunno.

by a gunslinger 2008-03-21 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

The end will occur in November when McCain is sworn in. Of course since Richardson believes being gay is a choice its not surprising he is endorsing the candidate of ex-gay ministers

by rossinatl 2008-03-21 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Whither John Edwards

Richard Stengel of Time Magazine reported a rumor last Sunday that  Edwards will endorse Clinton right before the NC primary. Rumor only.  We'll see.

by ocli 2008-03-21 10:08AM | 0 recs
"Create a sense of momentum"

I guess that's what you do when you have no real momentum.

by ocli 2008-03-21 10:04AM | 0 recs
Heard of Elizabeth Edwards?

I think his considerations are a little different than the typical pol jockeying for position.

by Shawn 2008-03-21 10:09AM | 0 recs
The Model is Al Gore

I think JRE is looking at the Al Gore model of being a high profile advocate without portfolio. Why on earth would he want to be a cabinet officer? Those are terrible jobs unless you just need some ego boost of being the head of something...or intend on doing a post gov lobbying gig. The only conceivable job that Edwards would want would being a Czar for rebuilding New Orleans. At least if he was given some power and autonomy.

by demwords 2008-03-21 10:33AM | 0 recs


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